On the back of two huge performances, the Giants’ star has all of a sudden announced himself as a big Brownlow Medal chance in 2019.

On the eve of the round nine clash against Carlton, GWS midfielder Lachie Whitfield was a distant $34 Brownlow chance with Palmerbet. A superb start to the season (where he averaged 32 disposals in the first five rounds) was undone by an injury in round six against the Swans, and punters weren’t keen to jump on a player with that cloud hanging over his head. A swift recovery, however, saw him miss just two games, and the Giants welcomed him back against the Blues. And he returned with a bang. With 40 touches and three goals, he put in the undisputed performance of the season.

Whitfield didn’t just stop there. A week later (on Sunday against Melbourne) he kicked two goals to go with his 29 disposals. And all of a sudden, within two games, the Giants gun has shortened from $34 to $4. Yep, he’s incredibly leapfrogged 14 plays to now sit as third-favourite to take home the most coveted individual AFL prize, behind Blues skipper Patrick Cripps ($3.50) and Lions gun Lachie Neale ($3.60). So, how did we get here?

Continual improvement

Let’s go back to the start, shall we? Since being taken as number one pick in the 2012 draft, the class of Whitfield has been pretty common knowledge. Recruiters don’t often get it wrong (although, sometimes they ironically do with number one picks) and Whitfield was known as a good ball user from the get-go. His first few seasons saw continual improvement, but it wasn’t until 2018 that he really showed his class. A move to the halfback line was a godsend for the Giants as Whitfield played all 24 games and won the best and fairest. He also finished with 16 Brownlow votes.

Brownlow bridesmaid no more?

Despite his brilliance, at the start of 2019, he was still a big outsider for the Brownlow. At $51 with Palmerbet before the season kicked off, he wasn’t quite considered in the same bracket as teammates Josh Kelly ($13) and Stephen Coniglio ($41). But his consistency this AFL season has brought him right in with a chance. And perhaps it’s finally got the footy world talking about him as a bonafide star.

The contenders

As mentioned, Cripps and Neale ($3.50 and $3.60 Brownlow hopes with Palmerbet) are neck-and-neck. We’ve touched on Cripps in recent weeks, but Neale’s ultra-consistency has seen him whittle down his price weekly. In a team void of out-and-out A-graders (and thus, big vote stealers) the Lions midfielders has to be considered a big chance. His ability to win the ball in tight will surely be looked upon favourably by the men in yellow.

Patrick Dangerfield is the big Brownlow mover in the other direction. This is partially due to the uncertainty over his ankle injury, and partially due to a drop in form. After four rounds, the 2016 winner was a $4 favourite with Palmerbet. But he’s since dropped off to double figures, currently at $11.50. There’s every chance, however, he’ll be back in the mix later this season.